“Come In, We’re Open” are the words emblazoned on that familiar black-and-orange door sign, inviting us to browse at our favorite shops, where we find the stuff we love and the people who make us feel welcome.
In an effort to bring you an online “Mom and Pop” shopping experience, we invite you to “Come In We’re Open,” to our new blog, featuring fun and informative posts by SWISCO.com staff writers Ben Scioli, Donna Adinolfe, and Tom Murray, as well as Creative Director Mike Tucci.
With more than 25 years of writing and editing experience, Donna comes to SWISCO.com from Burlington Stores, where she worked as an e-commerce copywriter at its corporate headquarters in Florence, NJ. In addition to fashion writing, Donna has experience writing business and people profiles, as well as editing and writing for home and garden publications.
“My vision for our blog is to educate, as well as entertain, our customers,” Donna says. “We do not want the usual corporate blah-blah blog. We’ve chosen fun and interesting topics that will appeal to all customers from DIYers to professionals.”
Born in Pennsylvania and raised in New Jersey, Ben has been a writer since his first couplet at age ten. He finished high school with a thirty-page novella and a collection of poems under his belt, but yet, for most of Ben’s life, he believed that writing for a living was impossible. He spent a lot of time looking for some other calling – majoring in linguistics and psychology at Boston University, graduating into jobs in petrochemical and pharmaceutical labs – before finally walking away to join SWISCO.com and live the dream as a writer.
“My angle is scientific, but poetic. I like to consider both the past and the future, and explore how they relate to each other. It’s history, it’s futurism; it’s everything,” Ben says.
Through years of studious apprenticeship with masters of the window trade, Tom developed an appreciation for all the mundane knick-knacks and whatchamacallits that make life easier without us ever knowing it. If you had asked Tom ten years ago if he’d ever find his passion in home repair, he probably would have laughed at the idea and questioned your good sense. Yet, here he stands: an example of what happens when a smart-aleck kid from Jersey looking for a summer job finds himself with a career, a craft, and a home.
“My goal for my writing is to provide advice and solutions to anyone burdened by those nagging, every-day questions that don’t seem to want to be answered,” says Tom.
As for Mike, he met SWISCO.com’s CEO, Paul Pallas, when they were both attending Temple, and Paul recruited Mike in the early stages of setting up the company website. At the time, the company consisted of just the Pallas family and a handful of warehouse staff. Mike studied art at the time, but he’s no classicist; instead, as SWISCO’s Creative Director, he focuses on digital media and design. “When people ask what I do, I usually say this: I make things that look bad look good, and things that look good look better,” he says.
Mike’s intent for the blog is “to show the other side of SWISCO – to express our personalities. Humans are cool. People should know that there are humans behind SWISCO.com … and some of us may actually be kinda likeable.”
Some upcoming blog posts include the need for window safety regulations, as it relates to the tragic death of Eric Clapton’s son and the rock star’s mission to keep kids safe; transforming old wood windows into brilliant works of art; and the origin of house numbering.
“I like to share,” Tom says. “Trivia, stories, a good joke. Mostly it’s the sound of my own voice, but I really do like sharing. Who doesn’t? That’s all a blog is. Or a job. Or a relationship. Or whatever you can think of. We’re all just going through life in the hope that we can share it. Plus, I’ll fix your windows for free.”
Tom lives a quiet life at the end of a woodsy road in the suburbs of South Jersey. In his free time he enjoys reading, writing, and arguing with his friends over irrelevant minutiae. When he’s not thinking about windows and doors, you can find Tom brushing up on world history or bragging about his words-per-minute.
Mike likes to de-stress by hopping on his bike, whether it be during his daily commute, over the weekend, or at the annual MS “City to Shore” bike ride. He’s also an avid runner, a lover of jazz, and a wine connoisseur.
“It’s so stereotypical … the bearded guy who doesn’t own a car – and who brews his locally-roasted coffee grounds in a french press – happens to be the creative director of a website. I’m also a vegan, to make matters worse.”
For her part, Donna says, “I am looking forward to engaging with our customers, and I urge them to leave us comments and suggest topics they’d like to see us cover.”
When she’s not tapping away about everything window and door, Donna likes to cook, especially with fresh ingredients she finds at local farm markets and her semi-successful home garden. She has a new fascination with the hummingbirds in her backyard, and has four cats and a yellow lab.
“I’m not a crazy cat lady,” she says. “I just love MY cats.”
Ben can’t even share a room with a cat (achoo!), but he loves his dog doubly, to compensate. When he’s not behind his desk at SWISCO, he is usually busy writing about NJ politics or keeping up with the latest Philadelphia Flyers rumors online.
“And eating seafood,” Ben adds, “I once ate 250 steamed clams in one sitting, and I’ve got my eye on 300 some day.”